LeBron's next Lakers coach? Heat's Haslem casts vote for candidacy of Spoelstra assistant Chris Quinn.

Ira Winderman, South Florida Sun-Sentinel on

Published in Basketball

MIAMI — While Miami Heat executive Udonis Haslem continues to discuss team business in his dual media role, expect no admonishment this time from Heat president Pat Riley.

Unlike previous opining on the best playing roles for the Heat’s Tyler Herro and Bam Adebayo, Haslem, the former team captain who this past season was named the Heat’s vice president of player development, this time is using his media platform to promote the coaching credentials of Heat assistant Chris Quinn.

Haslem said on ESPN’s “NBA Today” that his former Heat teammate would be a solid fit for the Los Angeles Lakers’ vacancy, and the South Florida Sun Sentinel has confirmed that Quinn has been given permission to interview for the position.

Quinn, who just completed his 10th season on Erik Spoelstra’s staff, in previous years has been given permission to interview for heading coaching openings with the Indiana Pacers, Charlotte Hornets, Washington Wizards, Detroit Pistons and Milwaukee Bucks, mentioned this year as a candidate for the Hornets opening that went to Boston Celtics assistant Charles Lee.

Haslem raised Quinn’s name while discussing the candidacy of former NBA guard and current ESPN commentator JJ Redick, who co-hosts a popular podcast with Lakers forward LeBron James.

“I’m gonna go ahead and say it: If it’s JJ, it’s gonna be a cynical locker room. You’re gonna see guys that are gonna say, ‘Is coach gonna do a podcast after the game with LeBron?’ ” Haslem said on ESPN.

“You’re gonna have a cynical locker room with guys that are gonna side-eye everything that JJ says, ’cause they’re gonna wonder is it JJ’s message or LeBron’s message?”

That had Haslem moving on to the praises of Quinn, 40.

“I’m not just saying this because Chris Quinn is my guy,” Haslem said. “But Chris Quinn has relationships and coached LeBron James in Miami prior to LeBron going to the Lakers, so I know he’s a guy that LeBron respects.”

Quinn actually joined Spoelstra’s staff in the summer after James left the Heat in 2014 NBA free agency to return to the Cleveland Cavaliers.

“Now, is he a true, ‘true’ candidate?” Haslem asked. “Who knows, because we understand how this goes, you might put names out there when you already know who you’re gonna pick, but I think Chris Quinn really has an opportunity to go into that situation, some Miami Heat culture, but also sprinkled in with what they’re doing now and what LeBron likes to do.

“I think Chris Quinn might have an opportunity to go in there, have the respect of LeBron James, have the respect of the locker room.”


The Los Angeles vacancy was created with the Lakers’ dismissal earlier this month of Darvin Ham after two seasons. The vacancy comes amid James having the right to opt into free agency this summer.

Spoelstra has encouraged his assistants to seek greater vistas, with former lead assistant David Fizdale having previously moved on to coach the Memphis Grizzlies and New York Knicks, and with former assistant Juwan Howard having moved on to coach at Michigan. Former Heat guard Anthony Carter left as a Heat assistant coach last summer for an assistant’s role with greater responsibilities with the Memphis Grizzlies.

The Heat announced this past season that Spoelstra had been signed to an eight-year extension, a deal worth a reported $120 million.

Quinn stands as Spoelstra’s longest tenured current assistant, with a spot on the front of the team’s bench on game nights alongside assistants Caron Butler and Malik Allen, with all three previously having played for the Heat. Quinn has coached the Heat in recent years in games that Spoelstra has been unavailable.

Love places second

Heat forward Kevin Love finished as runner-up to Philadelphia 76ers guard Tyrese Maxey for the NBA’s Sportsmanship Award, with that result announced Thursday.

In the weighted balloting of NBA players, Maxey closed with 91 first-place votes and 2,545 points. Love closed with 42 first-place votes and 2,313 votes.

The award honors a player who “best represents the ideals of sportsmanship on the court.” The winner receives the Joe Dumars Trophy.

Adebayo a runner-up

Adebayo finished as runner-up to Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry for the 2023-24 Magic Johnson Award, which honors the NBA player who best combines excellence on the court with cooperation and grace in dealing with the media and fans. The other finalists for the award, voted on by the Professional Basketball Writers Association, were DeMar DeRozan, Rudy Gobert and Tyrese Haliburton

Previous Heat winners of the award since its 2001 inception were Shane Battier in 2013 and Dwyane Wade in 2019.

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